Saturday, August 2, 2014

For those who must give up Parmesan cheese fear not!

Cheesy sprinkle Parmesan recipe

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/4 cup raw almonds (see note)

1/4 cup raw cashews (or more raw almonds)

1/2 tsp (scant) sea salt (about ¼ + 1/8 tsp)

1/4 tsp lemon zest (optional)

Put all the ingredients into a standing blender and pulse until very fine and crumbly. Don’t overprocess, just pulse several times. That’s it! Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Makes about 1 scant cup

Adult-Minded: Try adding 1⁄8 teaspoon of onion or garlic powder.

Kid-Friendly: I make this often for our kiddos, and make it quick and simple using just the nooch, nuts, and salt. You may enjoy added flavor depth from the zest, but it’s not essential.

Savvy Subs and Adds: To make this mixtre nut free, substitute the almonds and cashews with: 3 tbsp hemp seeds, 1 tbsp chia seeds (preferably white chia), and 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds (or sesame or sunflower).  Voila!


Brazil nut Parmesan imitation cheese

1½ cups brazil nuts (see notes)

½ tsp (little scant) sea salt

1 ½ tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 275°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Process the brazil nuts in a food processor or blender until fine and crumbly. Don’t overprocess, or they will begin to heat and become pasty. Just pulse until finely crumbled.  Spread on the prepared pan. Toss in the salt, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice. Use your fingers to work these ingredients through the crumbled nuts.  Place in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, being sure to toss three or four times through the baking process (and check during last minutes of baking; the mixture should become dry and maybe a touch golden around the edges, but should not brown). Remove from the oven, let cool, and transfer to a container to refrigerate. Makes about 2 cups.

If This Apron Could Talk: If you cannot eat brazil nuts, I would substitute 1 1/2 cups raw almonds.  You could also try about 1 1/4 cup of almonds along with 1/4 cup of pine nuts.  After trying this for the first time, you might want to double your batch the next time round. It can disappear quickly! It’s one of my husband’s favorites; in fact, he keeps saying, “You should bottle this up and sell it”!

Kid-Friendly: Your little ones might love this just the way it is, but you can try bumping up the nooch another tablespoon to make it a little more cheesy. Also see Cheesy Sprinkle (recipe follows) for a cheesier-tasting topping.

Serving Suggestions: Any tomato-based pasta sauce will welcome this seasoning, as will a very modestly dressed pasta, such as one with olive oil and lemon juice. This topping works wonders on salads, and adds crunch and depth to cooked rice and other grains, as well as simple bean preparations.

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